Lucchino on negotiations: 'Sweet reasonableness reared its lovely head'

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Lucchino on negotiations: 'Sweet reasonableness reared its lovely head'

BOSTON When the Red Sox announced the hiring on Sunday of John Farrell as the new manager, it appeared the Sox got the guy they had been planning on all along, going back to last offseason when they attempted to pry him from the Blue Jays after Terry Francona was fired.

It also appeared that the interviews granted to Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach, Padres special assistant Brad Ausmus, Yankees bench coach, and Orioles third base coach and former Sox bench coach DeMarlo Hale were little more than going through the motions.

Not so, said Sox presidentCEO Larry Lucchino, who was largely responsible for the negotiations with the Blue Jays that extricated Farrell from Toronto with one year remaining on his contract. Lucchino, who dealt with Paul Beeston, his Toronto counterpart and good friend, said he was not completely confident throughout the process of negations, which began around Oct. 10, that the deal would get done.

And thats why the suggestion that somehow we were making a mistake in bringing in other people to interview is I think unfounded, Lucchino said. There was a lot of uncertainty as to whether this thing could be done. And we had to prepare for Plan B.

What prevailed?

I dont know, he said. I like to think it was sweet reasonableness that somehow reared its lovely head in the middle of the process. On both parts.

Still, it was a complicated process.

We had plenty of conversations, Lucchino said. You got to understand, Beeston and I are very good friends. So we can spend a lot of time talking about the War of 1812, or the American presidential campaigns, and other gossip in baseball, and we do that a lot. This time it was certainly primarily focused on the business at hand. And Paul was very strong and assertive about the interest in his team. If they were going to release someone from their contract, which he felt had a high degree of importance, they needed someone of quality in return.

So it was really plenty of talk about the principals but it was also about the standard to be applied to this transaction. And then Sox general manager Ben Cherington and Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos were part and parcel to that discussion a lot of the times and oftentimes were asked to focus on certain players.

But in general, I would say it was amicable, it was honest, and it proved to be productive, I think, for both teams.

Last year, when the Sox attempted to get Farrell in the managerial search that led to Bobby Valentine on Dec. 1, the Blue Jays asked for right-hander Clay Buchholz in return. That request abruptly stopped talks between the Sox and Jays. This year, with just a year left on his contract with Toronto, the Jays reigned in their requests somewhat, getting infielder Mike Aviles in return.

Lets just say that they made substantial demands on us throughout the process and it had to evolve over time for us to find the right combination of consideration, Lucchino said. Because absolutely they deserve consideration and they got it in our last years starting shortstop. Its a far cry from what the process we went through last year with respect to our general manager.

I would have to say yes there was a different tenor and I think part of it was because of the existing relationships that go back a few decades in baseball between us and the Blue Jays and Paul Beeston.

Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

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Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

BOSTON -- “I didn’t feel that love after I made a pitching change in the sixth inning,” Terry Francona said after a 45-second standing ovation from Boston fans upon receiving the MLB Manager of the Year award from the BBWAA Thursday.

It’s without question the love for Francona runs deep in the city. Why wouldn’t it? He was the leader in breaking the 86-year old curse, and wound up winning another World Series title for Boston three years later.

Actually, he was more of a co-leader, working alongside the same person who won the MLB Executive of the Year honors from the BBWAA for 2016.

Theo Epstein -- who received an ovation 17 seconds shorter than Francona, but who’s counting -- reminisced about the Red Sox ownership group that took a chance on a young kid who wasn’t necessarily the ideal candidate to take over as GM of a team, but now that’s helped him build the Chicago Cubs into a winning franchise and establish a great working environment.

This October marks 13 years since the ’04 championship, 10 years since ’07 and six years since the pair left Boston. Without question they’ve left their mark on the city and forever changed Red Sox baseball.

And while the fans showed their undying gratitude for Francona with an ovation almost as long as his acceptance speech, the Indians manager recognized the favor the current Red Sox brass has done for him.

“I’d like to thank Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox for getting Chris Sale the hell out of the Central Division,” Francona said.

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

BOSTON -- At first, 2016 seemed like the “Year of Xander.” It turned out to be the “Year of Mookie,” with Bogaerts dropping off a little as the season progressed.

The Red Sox shortstop saw his average peak at .359 on June 12. At that point he’d played in 61 games, hit eight home runs, 20 doubles and knocked in 44 runs. Although Mookie Betts had six more home runs and three more RBI in that same span, Bogaerts had six more doubles and was hitting 69 points higher.

The two were already locks for the All-Star Game and Bogaerts still had the edge in early MVP talk.

Then things took a turn after the very day Bogaerts saw his average peak.

Over the next 61 games, Bogaerts still managed seven homers, but only had six doubles and 27 RBI, watching his average drop to .307 by the end of that stretch. At first glance, .307 doesn’t seem like an issue, but he dropped 52 points after hitting .253 in that span.

And in his remaining 35 games, Bogaerts only hit .248 -- although he did have six homers.

But throughout it all, Bogaerts never seemed fazed by it. With pitchers and catchers reporting in less than a month, Bogaerts still isn’t worried about the peaks and valleys.

“You go through it as a player, the only one’s who don’t go through that are the ones not playing,” Bogaerts told CSNNE.com before the Boston baseball writers' dinner Thursday. “I just gotta know you’re going to be playing good for sometime, you’re going to be playing bad for sometime.

“Just try to a lot more better times than bad times. It’s just a matter of trusting yourself, trusting your abilities and never doubting yourself. Obviously, you get a lot of doubts when you’re playing bad, but you just be even keeled with whatever situation is presented.”

Bogaerts level head is something often noted by coaches and his teammates, carrying through the days he finds himself lunging left and right for pitches. That’s also carried him through the offseason while maintaining the same preparation from past seasons -- along with putting on some weight.

“I don’t know how much I put on, but I feel strong,” Bogaerts said to CSNNE.com “I mean, I look strong in the mirror.

“Hopefully, I’m in a good position when the season comes because I know I’ll lose [the weight].”